LOS ANGELES – How busy is Derek Hough?
In the last month, he married partner Hayley Erbert, honeymooned in Tuscany, prepared for Tuesday's 32nd season of "Dancing With the Stars" and readied his national touring show "Symphony of Dance."
He's so busy, that at 1 a.m. the night before a USA TODAY interview, Hough, 38, posted an Instagram story showing the ultimate time-saving multitask – chowing down his salmon dinner while standing in a frigid ice bath at home. So busy, that Hough is late for his hastily rescheduled interview, entering a rented dance studio with apologies and his normally perfectly coiffed blonde hair stuffed under a trendy beanie.
"It's been a whirlwind," Hough says, as two coffees (one hot, one iced) are placed next to him. "Creating a show from scratch is a challenge. But once it finds its rhythm and flow, that energy feeds into my life and 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
Here's where the time has gone for Hough and Erbert, 28, who's not only his wife but his national tour dance partner:
Hough reveals fairy tale wedding with crowd-surfing, dad break dancing at reception
After eight years as a couple, they married on Aug. 26 in a "temple" of majestic redwood trees in Northern California’s Monterey County. "Haley wrote her vows six months before; I wrote mine the night before," says Hough. "But I had been keeping notes."
During the reception in a nearby 100-year-old barn, best man and "DWTS" bestie Mark Ballas revealed he convinced his childhood friend to crowd-surf at a Korn concert. Ballas went back to the memory in the speech's finale when the live band started playing and Hough was surrounded by groomsmen.
"So the groomsmen picked me up, and everyone joined in and we were crowd surfing," says Hough. "It was epic."
Bridesmaid and "DWTS" co-host Julianne Hough, Derek's sister, won the reception limbo contest and the wedding guests partied the night away, including co-host Alfonso Ribeiro, Maria Menounos, Shawn Johnson, Shaun White, Nina Dobrev and Freida Pinto. Even Hough's politician father Bruce brought the heat.
"We danced nonstop for three hours, Shaun White was busting moves. And at one point my father got down and started break dancing. I was like, 'What?!'" says Hough. "It was pretty awesome."
Hough and Erbert's two-week Tuscan honeymoon featured stunning locations, frolics in golden light and food close-ups on Instagram. But no tour practice.
"Our goal was to relax and get as much joy from the experience," says Hough, who did work out. "We were eating so much pasta, pizza, bread. I was like, 'We should probably stay in shape for rehearsals.'"
Hough ready to honor Len Goodman as 'DWTS' judge
Hough is thrilled that "DWTS" will honor Len Goodman, who died in April at 78, by naming the show's Mirrorball Trophy after its original head judge. At age 12, Hough first met the British ballroom dance legend while competing in London.
"I knew Len when I was a young boy. He's made such an impact on my life," says Hough. "There's sadness still, but it's nice to know that I loved him enough that I really miss him."
Working with Goodman as a judge last season allowed Hough to spend quality time with his mentor.
"Whenever I had breaks, I'd hang out with Len. I didn't know why I seemed to need to, but I did," says Hough, who is intent on paying respect with fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. "Putting on a great show is the best way to honor Len."
The new cast features "Vanderpump Rules" star Ariana Madix, former "Bachelorette" Charity Lawson, "Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears, "How I Met Your Mother" star Alyson Hannigan and "The Brady Bunch" brother Barry Williams.
Hough uses Hayley Erbert love to fight 'Symphony of Dance' stress
After each live "DWTS" episode on Tuesday nights, Hough will jet off to U.S. cities to perform up to four shows a week of "Symphony of Dance," which begins Oct. 2 in Salt Lake City. "I'm a glutton for punishment," says Hough of the grueling schedule. "I'm a judge, so let me go on a 59-city tour when I'm dancing my butt off for two hours a night."
The show features intricate routines by a full ensemble, including Erbert, backed by a live band. Hough has a love cure for stressful moments with Erbert. "If we get over-frazzled, we take a moment where we just look into each other's eyes and say, 'I love you.'" says Hough. "When I hear those words, it's like juice; I feel unstoppable."
The touring show is filled with expressions of love in Hough's life, including a choreographed version of the couple's wedding dance to "Fall into Me," by Forest Blakk. "Every time we rehearse it, I cry," says Hough.
"Symphony" wraps with a tribute to Goodman: A classic waltz with Erbert to "Moon River."
"It's a clean, classic ballroom dance waltz. There's no flips or tricks," says Hough. "Len would love it. No riffraff, no messing about. And it brings it back to the idea of love. Because the tour fans are all 'Dancing' fans and they all love Len. They've lost Len too."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Derek Hough on 'DWTS' judge Len Goodman, tour with wife Hayley Erbert